Travel To & Around Austria

Travel To & Around Austria

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     Austria Rail Map
  • Austrian Railways Map
     West Austria Rail Map
  • Western Austria Railways Map
    Central Austria Rail Map
  • Central Austria Railways Map

Travel to Austrian Ski Resorts

In the heart of Europe & The Alps, Austria is situated with Germany to the north, Switzerland to the west & Italy to the south. The three Austrian federal states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol & Salzburg combine to provide some of the world’s best ski holiday & freeride adventure destinations.

Austria is easy to get to from anywhere in the world via the airports at Innsbruck, Munich & Zurich. Once there, the excellent train & bus system, plus a useful road network, make internal travel simple.

Where are Austrian Ski Resorts

The options for skiing & snowboarding in Austria are endless. The Austrian Alps run through the entire country with the ski resorts ranging from low elevation, cute village ski hills to high-alpine glaciers & huge interlinked mega resorts. Austria has a ski resort to suit everyone, at every time of the year & in every part of the country except the far north-east.

From west to east, Austrian ski resorts are easiest divided into their relevant states - Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia. A few are in outlying states like Krippenstein in Upper Austria, but for the main part they are in the 5 states running like the Alps - west to east.

Flights to Austria

It may come as a surprise, but for most international visitors looking to ski or snowboard in Austria, the best gateway airport is in Germany. The Munich International Airport (MUC) has excellent ground (& air) connections to all the major skiing hotspots in Vorarlberg, Tyrol & Salzburgerland.

It won’t then come as a surprise that the next best airport for Vorarlberg & the Tyrol is in Switzerland! Zurich International Airport (ZRH) has excellent train & road connections to the best ski resorts in western Austria.

For skiers & snowboarders travelling to Austria from within Europe or the UK, the best airports are either Innsbruck (INN) or Salzburg (SZG). We rate Innsbruck as the world's greatest ski city & part of the rationale is the access it provides to an incredible number of ski areas in both Austria & Italy (think Dolomites, Livigno et al).

If Innsbruck is Austria's best ski city, then Salzburg is its most beautiful. Strategically positioned, Salzburg provides an excellent air & rail hub to explore loads of ski resorts. We rate Salzburg as a 'must visit' location on any Austrian ski holiday. It is a sublime location in & of itself, but even more so when rest & recuperation is required after a few weeks hurtling down the mountains.

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Private Transfers

The Powderhounds recommend taking the train & bus throughout Austria, or if on a ski safari, a rental car. However, if you cannot abide public transport, are in a larger group of 3+ people or just have the cash to splash, the quickest way to Austrian ski resorts from the airports is a private transfer. A useful method to decrease the cost of a private transfer is to take a train to a major nearby railway station & be met by the provider for transfer direct to your accommodation. Private transfers can be particularly time efficient & cost effective for groups of 3 people or more.

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Train Travel in Austria

Many may not realise that of all the major ski resort nations in Europe, Austria has an amazing train network second only in breadth & quality to Switzerland. In addition to being comfortable, reliable, safe & often cost effective, travelling by train is a great way to POW (Protect Our Winters), so is a recommended mode of travel in Austria.

Search & book for all train tickets to Austria.

A huge number of Austria's best ski resorts can be reached via train. And if a train doesn't go there, then a connecting bus will. From the far western border, the major train line along the Inn River Valley provides the link between Innsbruck & Switzerland. Important train stations include Imst-Pitztal (for Hochzeiger, Pitztal Glacier), Landeck-Zams (for Ischgl, Kaunertal Glacier, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis & Venet), Ötztal (for Kuhtai, Hochoetz, Obergurgl Hochgurgl & Soelden) & St Anton (For Lech, St Anton & Zuers).

For more detail, see the western Austria rail map.

To the east of Innsbruck, rail corridors increase dramatically. Lines extending east connect directly to ski resort bases in many locations including stations at Hopfgarten, Westendorf, Brixen im Thale, Kirchberg in Tirol, Kitzbuehel, Fieberbrunn, LeogangZell am See. The lines also connect to a number of 'private railways' like in the Zillertal (for Mayrhofen & Hochzillertal) and Pinzgau (for Wildkogel, Zillertal Arena at Krimml & the southern parts of KitzSki). Further east still train lines connect small, otherwise isolated ski resorts near Salzburg to the resort of the world (i.e. Tauplitz, Loser, Krippenstein et al), plus larger ski areas at stations like Pichl, Schladming, Haus im Ennstal, Dorfgastein & Bad Gastein. From Gastein the line extends south through the mountains to Mallnitz & the Ankogel ski resort. It is possible to then connect back to Innsbruck via northern Italy & the Brenner Pass.

For more detail, see the central Austria rail map.

The Powderhounds favourite Austrian ski resorts reachable directly by train include Gastein, Mayrhofen, Hochzillertal, Skicircus Saalbach, St Anton, Kitzbuehel, Krippenstein, Silvretta Montafon & Zell am See to name but a few.

Driving in Austria

Driving to the Austrian ski resorts is a useful option & recommended if in a group of 2 or more people doing a private road trip/ski safari. Whilst most resorts can be easily reached by public transport, a car provides the ultimate in time efficiency.

Unlike much of Europe, Austria has reasonably priced fuel & very few road tolls on its motorways. A journey over the Brenner Pass will cost, but for the rest there are no additional toll fees if you hire the car in Austria. There are a handful of private roads that incur a cost i.e. to Sport Gastein (but its free if one has a valid lift pass!), but these are few & far between. If hiring a car from outside of Austria, a flat-rate, one off 'vignette' is payable for use of all motorways. You will get a toll sticker for the car when purchasing from a fuel station near the borders before entering Austria.

Car Rental & Hire

All the major airports & cities have car hire available. In terms of convenience & proximity to the action, the best rental location in Austria is Innsbruck. Availability can be an issue during high season.

If renting cars in Austria, all vehicles should come with winter tyres, however other locations (like Germany & Italy) may not automatically come with this option. Check prior to confirming any rental, as winter tyres are essential to safe travel throughout the country.

Search & book Austrian car rentals.

Note, if renting a car in Switzerland (i.e. Zurich airport), read the fine print carefully because some providers charge exorbitant security deposits of up to CHF6000.

If in Doubt

If in doubt about how to get around Austria, either just head to Innsbruck and go from there, or contact Powderhounds for info on the best option!